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Text and photographs by Antonio Bignami
AZIMUT 74 SOLAR
This new Azimut motor yacht, which was premiered at the last edition of the Genoa Boat Show, has been designed by Stefano Righini. Here, the designer has drawn on his experience gained on other important hulls in this range in order to devise a yacht where, thanks partly to the many technological innovations on board, comfort and the effective use of space set a new benchmark in style. This boat, which replaces the 70 Seajet in the Azimut range, introduces major changes in appearance, above all in the aft zone, where the contemporary flowing curves blend in perfectly with the increased size of the interior.
A door in the transom provides direct access from the spacious bathing platform to the engine room and the crew quarters, equipped with two beds, a bathroom and separate shower. This design feature ensures maximum privacy, in keeping with a first class motor yacht. Other important modifications have been made to the split-level saloon, where the living area is now cosier with the two semicircular settees facing each other. New arrangements have also been introduced for the dinette, the stairs leading down to the guest area and, amidships, the redesigned wheelhouse. As for the interior layout, the vessel we tested is the three-cabin model - a four-version cabin is also available - with the owner's suite located abaft the lower deck.
This area, which is already large in itself, appears to have been laid out in exemplary style, with a central double bed, en suite bathroom with Jacuzzi, dressing room and beauty area. It is very elegantly appointed and characterised by the evocative arrangement of the windows and portholes - three on either side - ensuring a light and airy feel which is hard to come by on other yachts. The VIP cabin is right at the bow and is equally impressive in terms of the use of space and fittings. This stateroom also has its own en suite bathroom with a separate shower recess, wardrobe/hanging space and central double bed. The guest cabin is located between the other two and has twin beds, a closet and a bathroom, again with a shower recess. The underwater portion of the Azimut 74 Solar's hull has a gliding bottom; the vee-hull reaches an angle of 14° at the stern. Driven by 4-blade propellers and powered by 2 x 1,300 HP MTUs, on this occasion her performance was in line with our expectations, with an extremely smooth wake at virtually all speeds - a clear sign of the success of the design.
SPECIFICATIONSExterior design: Stefano Righini; Interior layout: Carlo Galeazzi
Builder: Azimut; Via Martin Luther King 9/11; 10051 Avigliana (Province of Turin); tel. 011 93161; fax 011 9367270; website www.azimutyachts.net
EU design category: "A"
Mooring fees: Euro 3,153.92
L.O.A.: 22.89 m
Type approved length: 22.45 m
Beam: 5.58 m
Hull depth (above the waterline): 7.62 m
Draught below the propellers: 1.77 m
Light displacement: 46,000 kg; Load displacement: 51,800 kg
Type approved accommodation capacity: 12 passengers
Total berths: 8+2 in 5 rooms or 6+2 in 4 rooms
Engines: 2 x 1,300 HP MTU 12V 183 TE 94 EB TD, ZF 2000 V reverse gears with step-down gearing ratio 1:2.467
Total installed horsepower: 2,600 HP
Total tax rating: approx. 200 HP
Total weight of engines: 3,880 kg
Ratio of vessel light displacement/installed horsepower: 17.69 kg/HP
Type of drive: shaft line with V-drive
Stated top speed: 31 knots at 2,400 revs/min
Cruising speed: 28 knots at 2,200 revs/min
Stated consumption at cruising speed: 457 litres/hour
Range at cruising speed: approx. 325 miles
Fuel tank capacity: 5,300 litres
Water tank capacity: 1,050 litres
Grey water tank capacity: 496 litres
Black water tank capacity: 486 litres
Price with standard equipment and engines as tested: Euro 2,200,000.00 (excluding VAT)
Note: There are two possible layouts for the sleeping accommodation a four-cabin version, each stateroom having its own en suite bathroom, plus crew quarters, or the "office" model comprising three cabins with bathrooms, plus crew quarters.
CONSTRUCTIONAL DETAILSType of bottom: Deep-vee with 14° deadrise, V- drive with cardan joint. NiBrAl alloy 4-blade propellers, designed and built for optimum performance of the bottom and maximum comfort on board, shafts in AQ 17 or equivalent
Building material: vinyl ester resins stratified by hand (the boat is guaranteed for 5 years against osmosis)
Deck materials and characteristics: GRP with sandwich system in PVC
Bow: the entire deck area is lined with teak, bow platform made of stainless steel and mahogany, mooring equipment with forepeak for anchor and chain, 1500 W triple station winch, upholstered sundeck, electrically operated windows, access door to the engine room on the portside walkway
Cockpit arrangements and equipment: teak deck, with stowaway mooring lines, two capstans and warping winches, access door leading to the saloon made of tempered crystal glass and steel, watertight hi-fi loudspeaker system, multifunction retractable electric-hydraulic gangway which can also be used for haulage and launch of a jetski from the stern platform, wharf connection socket, shower with mixer tap, access door leading to the stern platform, stern sofa, central table and chairs, access door leading to crew quarters
Characteristics of stern platform: teak deck, with electric-hydraulic bathing ladder
Deck and glass doors and windows: all deck equipment is made of AISI 316 stainless steel, the doors and windows are made of tempered crystal glass
Description and characteristics of the flying bridge: dual access to the flybridge deck with stairways from the cockpit and the saloon. Flying bridge with wheelhouse and helm, electronic controls for engines, complete engine instrumentation and control panels, compass, intercom connected to engine room, saloon and cockpit, VHF repeater, ST 6001 Autopilot, Autohelm ST 80 echo sounder and speed indicator. Lights and loudspeakers in the roll bar, upholstered sundeck area, pilot's and co-pilot's seats, settees for 12 passengers with table, bar with sink, fridge and barbecue, GRP roll bar with radar, navigation lights, antennas and search light, yacht tender with 400 kg capacity electric-hydraulic davit for haulage and launch.
INTERIORInternal subdivision and characteristics: the saloon is based on a split-level arrangement. Aft, beyond the sliding entrance door made of crystal glass and steel, we find two sofas facing one another, a table made of wood and crystal glass, a bar with icemaker and bottle rack, sideboard with sophisticated electrical mechanism, 28-inch colour TV with VCR and DVD player, Bose Lifestyle hi-fi system. Forward, portside, is the galley and, starboard, facing this is the dining area with an extendable table and U-shaped sofa, while the wheelhouse is located centrally. Access to the accommodation space is via a stairway portside of the wheelhouse; the owner's cabin is amidships and has six oval portholes, a central double bed, a walk-in wardrobe, Bose Lifestyle hi-fi system, TV stand, bathroom including two wash basins with marble tops, marine WC, bidet, circular shower recess with jacuzzi, air extraction fan. VIP cabin forward with double bed, walk-in wardrobe, Sony hi-fi system, bathroom complete with marble topped wash basin, marine WC, bidet, circular shower recess, air extraction fan. Guest cabin with twin beds, closet, hi-fi system, bathroom with dual access (to enable its use also during the day) fitted with marble topped wash basin, marine WC, bidet, circular shower recess and air extraction fan. In the accommodation area, the Azimut 74 also features a large cupboard with a washer-dryer and storage space. Aft, with access from the cockpit and the engine room, we find the crew quarters with a twin bed cabin, private bathroom and shower recess, wash basin and marine WC. The interior furniture is cherry with briarwood insets, panelling and upholstery depending on the layouts
Pilothouse: Lorica pilot's chair with full electrical adjustment, helm, compass, intercom, electronic controls for engines and reverse gears, engine monitoring and indication system, complete electric panel, rudder angle, VHF Raytheon Ray 230 DCS, Radar and Chart plotter Raytheon RL 70 RC, Autopilot Raypilot ST 7001 Plus, Echo sounder and speed indicator Autohelm ST 80 Masterview
Chartroom: next to the control station
Galley area: separated from the dining area by an elegant structure/bar and serving hatch with granite worktop. Curved linings made of cherry, Miele fittings and, in particular, two sinks, pyroceram four-ring cooker, standard oven and microwave, fridge and freezer, dishwasher, marble worktop, customised Azimut cutlery and crockery for 8.
ACCESSORIESStandard equipment: in addition to that already mentioned, electric-hydraulic flaps, bow rudder propeller, 17.5 kW Kohler generator, centralised fire protection system in the engine room, 80-litre boiler, three grey water and two black water tanks, 100,000 BTU Crusair direct expansion air conditioning throughout the yacht.
IMPRESSIONSSEA TRIAL CONDITIONS
ASSESSMENT OF PERFORMANCESeakeeping, manoeuvrability, turn and wave resistance: the particularly favourable sea and weather conditions during the trial certainly did not put the underwater body of the yacht through its paces. Nevertheless, the impact of the wakes of other hulls, which can always be a nuisance at full speed, enabled us to appreciate the fact that the bottom of the Azimut 74 Solar is undoubtedly a guarantee of comfort and has been conceived for optimum interaction with the propulsion system and steering gear; it is balanced and promptly returns to the true heading even after the tightest of turns
Steering gear and flap control response: excellent and precise
Visibility in different conditions: optimum both from the navigating bridge (centrally located and therefore affording a particularly commanding view) and the flying bridge
Landing manoeuvrability: very good.
ASSESSMENT OF COMFORT AND FUNCTIONALITYDeck: elegant and functional
Flying bridge: sensible internal arrangement, provided with two convenient and functional means of access (from the cockpit and the saloon) and marked by immaculate finishing
Interior: elegant, sophisticated, great attention to detail in the passageways, wardrobes and service areas. Splendid saloon and owner's suite
Passenger comfort: optimum both on and below deck
Position and comfort of pilot houses: both excellent (the one in the saloon is probably the top of the range in terms of ergonomics and functionality)
Chartroom: spacious and easily accessible
Galley: elegant, functional and superbly equipped. Many innovative solutions
Bathrooms: spacious and functional
Ready accessibility and operational efficiency inside engine compartment: optimum, with access from the outer door on the port walkway
Electrical panel and systems: of the highest level, offering ample guarantees in terms of reliability.